|Courtesy of Shooting Star Photos|
Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.
With the loss, the Stars dropped to 11-3-1 (23 points) and are in second place in the USHL Western Conference. Click here to view the updated USHL standings.
Lincoln came out sluggish and played what I thought was one of their worst periods this season in the first twenty minutes. The Stars looked slow, disinterested, and asleep. On the other side of the rink, the Lancers were swarming all over the Stars and capitalized by scoring twice.
Omaha got two quick goals in the first period before Brad Hawkinson of the Stars scored to give the Stars some life going into the first intermission. Omaha led 2-1 after one period. I thought the Stars were VERY lucky to be down only one goal after the first period.
In the second period, the Stars did a 180 and completely outplayed the Lancers in all facets. Lincoln outshot Omaha 21-6 in the second period, and outscored them 2-0. Scoring for Lincoln in the second was Paul Ladue and Vinni Lettieri. Lettieri has now scored a goal in four straight games, and has had at least one point in his last seven games. He's been Lincoln's best forward the past couple of weeks.
In the third, the Lancers knotted the game up at 3-3 with their second powerplay goal of the game. The Stars outplayed the Lancers once again in the third period, outshooting them 10-5, but Lincoln was not able to solve Omaha goaltender Alex Lyon. The Stars outshot the Lancers 41-20 through three periods.
Neither team would score in the five-minute overtime period, so this game would go to the shootout. Two Lancers would score in the shootout compared to only one for Lincoln. Omaha escapes the IceBox with a giftwrapped win and the two points.
Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer stopped 19 of 22 shots in the loss. Lancers goaltender Alex Lyon stopped 39 of 42 in the win. Without Lyon's heroics, the Lancers would have easily been blown out in this game. Omaha went 2-for-5 on the powerplay, while the Stars went 0-for-2 with the man advantage. Lincoln's powerplay unit at this point in the season is anemic....to say the least.
This will sound like sour grapes because the Stars lost tonight, but this was one of the worst officiated games I've seen at the IceBox in a long time. Too much holding, hooking, slashing ignored by the refs which resulted in the line brawl in the 3rd period. When calls that should be made aren't, the game turns unstable. How TWO refs lose control of a game is beyond me.
The Stars will hit the road and travel to Chicago to face the Steel this Friday night. On Saturday, they'll be in Dubuque, IA to face the Fighting Saints. Not much of a Thankgiving break for the players. I assume they'll spend Turkey Day on a bus.
I'm going to post video of the shootout below, courtesy of blog contributor Mike Burda.
If you'd like to leave a comment below, please do so! Am I crazy for thinking this game was horribly officiated? Should the last Omaha shootout goal count because the player fell down?
Wishing everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving! Hoping that you all get to spend some quality time tomorrow with friends and family. I'm extremely thankful for all of the readers of this blog. Your patronage is always appreciated.